Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Blake Bortles is a rookie quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The number three overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, he has played in five games and has completed 114 passes for 1,163 yards, 5 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His completion percentage is 65.5% and he throws an average of 6.68 yards per pass. However, even with those underwhelming stats, the Miami Dolphins aren’t taking him lightly and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is ready for the challenge.
“I think sometimes you have to mix it up more when you’re going up against veteran quarterbacks because they have a tendency to be able to decipher what you’re doing,” Coyle said. “But this quarterback is a good player, he’s got a strong arm, he can run with the football. He’ll be a challenge. Each week we try to keep quarterbacks off balance. We’ll certainly try to confuse him when we can, but it all comes down to execution and yesterday we executed well and we have to do that each and every week.”
Due to Bortles’ size, he has often been compared to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Coyle sees some similarities between the two but also compared him to Joe Flacco due to his arm strength and ability to stand in the pocket and take the hits.
“He’s a big guy, he’s got a strong arm and he can get out of trouble. I don’t know if he’s not a combination of Big Ben and Joe Flacco. They’re both big guys that, when they have to move can move. They prefer to hang in there and throw it. I think he’s got a little more, I think within their scheme they do more with him running the football and we’ve got to be able to defend that. He’s a talented guy. I think he’s just going to keep getting better.”
Cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who has had a solid season overall, echoed Coyle and said that just because the Jaguars are 1-6 doesn’t mean they are preparing any differently and noted that Bortles isn’t playing like the average rookie quarterback does.
“They’re coached well, they’re hungry. I think you see every week, improvement. His (Blake Bortles) reads and just the receivers that they have. He’s not playing like a rookie. Any week you can disguise and frustrate a quarterback, that’s a good thing. We’ll try to do that for the most part. We’ll line up and play football. They’ve got good receivers and a good run game and they are coached well. We’ve got our work cut out for us. When you have all of that in mind, any Sunday, any team can win when you roll it out there.”
Reshad Jones, who re-joined the team against the Green Bay Packers, is looking forward to the challenge of facing Bortles as he said that he does a lot of things well in terms of reading the coverages and extending plays.
“Blake Bortles is a good quarterback. I think he’s emerging. I think he’s doing a great job of finding his receivers. I know by watching film that he does a great job of escaping the pocket and keeping the play alive. For us in the back end, I think we just have to cover a little bit longer than we’re used to when we play guys like this. It’s going to be a tough challenge, it’s a tough league. We are facing a good team and we’re going to have bring our A game.”
It will be important for the Dolphins not to fall into a trap against the Jaguars as it is certainly possible. Instead, they’ll need to come out firing on all cylinders looking to pick up their fourth win of the season.
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